The trademark search is the first, and most essential step of applying for a Federal trademark. A potential trademark needs to be screened first for common legal reasons that might result in a rejection and then secondly for its availability for federal registration.
Determining availability can be a difficult task because a party need not have registered a federal trademark in order to have some limited trademark rights. Mere usage alone or a state trademark registration can grant a party the right to use their name in the territory in which their business operates. A party with such rights can bring an action to block your federal trademark registration, thus it is essential that you know of their rights prior to filing your registration.
Trademark searches vary in depth, coverage and the resources expended in attempting to determine if any other party has rights to your desired trademark. Determining which type of search to perform is a business decision as it is a function of balancing your tolerance for risk and the value your desired mark has to your business.
A basic federal search will review federal trademark registrations for direct matches and other phonetically and conceptually similar registrations that might bar you from registering to your desired mark. We’ll also pre-screen your desired mark for common legal rejections. A comprehensive search includes a federal search, but also reviews a wide range of additional databases to help ensure that there are no parties with rights to your mark who have not registered a federal trademark. A comprehensive search is essential to avoid future liability for trademark infringement and to ensure that you don’t invest substantial amounts of time and money in building your brand only to learn later that you should have chosen another name.
As we are a specialized trademark law firm, we have access to a wide range of commercial databases that as an individual you couldn’t subscribe to for less than what our comprehensive search service costs. By reviewing multiple public and private commercial databases, we’re able to cast a very wide net for businesses that may have a legal right to your desired name and help you avoid legal issues before they occur.